Sunday, December 2, 2007

Cary's Leaf Lettuce Salad with Orange, Fennel and Red Onion (with Green Olive Dressing)

This is my go-to party salad. People tend to want the details (for which I cannot take any credit), so here they are. This recipe -- Moroccan-inspired, refreshing and dead-simple -- comes out of Chris Schlesinger and John Willoughby's Lettuce in Your Kitchen, which is one of my favorite cookbooks by two of my favorite cooks. I've added extra spices over time, as reflected here:

For the dressing:
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/3 cup pitted and coarsely chopped green olives
1 teaspoon minced garlic
2 T coriander seeds, toasted in a saute pan OR 1 T ground coriander
1 t ground cinnamon
1 T ground cumin
1 t ras al hanout (optional)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

For the salad:
1 large head leaf lettuce (Bibb, Boston, red leaf, etc)washed and dried and leaves torn in half
2 seedless naval oranges, peeled and sliced horizontally into thin slices
1 medium red onion, peeld, halved, and halves very thinly sliced
1 large bulb of fennel, fronds and root end trimmed off, and rest of bulb very finely sliced lengthwise
Extra salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste

In a small bowl, combine all dressing ingredients, and whisk well.
In a large bowl, combine the salad ingredients. Add salt and pepper. Stir the dressing well, and add just enough to moisten the ingredients. Toss well, and serve with a little extra dressing on top.
Serves 4 to 6.

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